Google obstructs law enforcement and put the lives of police officers and deputies at risk through “Waze”

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 06:36 GMT, Apr 24, 2015 |

Google continues to market a smartphone application that lets lawbreakers to know the accurate location of police officers in the field. Google’s executives won’t even discuss the subject with organizations representing law enforcement. Google’s popular real-time traffic app, Waze, uses GPS navigation and crowd-sourcing to alert users to traffic jams, automobile accidents, stalled cars, and through its “traffic cop” feature, the presence of law enforcement. Most people undoubtedly use Waze’s police-finding feature to avoid traffic tickets, but the app poses an enormous risk to deputies and police officers.

Every day, thousands of police officers and deputies enforce traffic laws, execute arrest and search warrants, investigate domestic violence complaints and perform countless tasks that are needed to keep our neighborhoods safe and remove criminals from the streets. But, it takes just a couple of clicks on Waze’s “traffic cop” icon to identify their locations and indicate whether, in the opinion of the anonymous user, the officer is “visible” or “invisible.” At that moment, the officer or deputy becomes an identifiable target whose whereabouts are available to any one of Waze’s 50 million users worldwide.

Social media has made enormous contributions to law enforcement as a “force multiplier” that lets citizens help police protect our communities. As we have seen with the emergence of crimes like identity theft, however, technology has the potential for evil as well as good.

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,”. But through Waze, it obstructs law enforcement and put the lives of police officers and deputies at risk.

In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-related automobile accidents. And in 2011, 9,944 people lost their lives in speed-related fatal crashes. It’s not just the speeders and drunk drivers who have access to the locations of police officers through Google’s technology. Perpetrators of domestic violence can use it to find out about the presence of law enforcement in a spouse’s neighborhood; gang members, narcotics dealers, even those intent on perpetrating an act of terror, all have access to Waze’s “traffic cop” feature.

Google has built a solid reputation as a good corporate neighbour. But when it comes to Waze, Google has gone into a defensive crouch. The company’s executives refused to discuss the subject with the United States legal authorities.

If Google’s real objective is the “common good out there on the road,” it will work with us to ensure the safety of both motorists and police officers” says the US legal authorities.